BAMAKO, Jan. 17 -- A contingent of 245 Chinese peacekeepers is in Mali's biggest northern town of Gao to boost the UN Integrated Multidimensional Force in Mali (MINUSMA).
With the arrival of the contingent, the number of Chinese peacekeepers in MINUSMA rose to 395, a military source in the Malian capital Bamako said Thursday.
The first contingent of 15 Chinese troops arrived in Gao on Nov. 27, 2013, before joined by 135 others a week later.
The mandate of the Chinese contingent based in Boulgoundje district in southern Gao is to protect MINUSMA offices and UN staff.
The Chinese contingent also has engineers who will be involved in rehabilitation of Gao airport.
Among the Chinese peacekeepers are 70 medical staff members who will be engaged in the reconstruction of level 2 hospital in Gao, a statement from MINUSMA said, adding that they will provide medical assistance and treatment of troops operating under the UN mission in northern Mali.
The Chinese ambassador to Mali, Cao Zhongming, on Thursday visited MINUSMA offices in Gao, where he met with the zone's commander, Sambe Mamadou.
The MINUSMA statement indicated that Mamadou briefed the Chinese ambassador and his delegation on the security situation in the area.
After the visit to the MINUSMA headquarters, the Chinese ambassador was scheduled to visit the Chinese base to motivate his fellow countrymen and women.
Mali's northern towns of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal are recovering from the aftermaths of occupation by rebels between March 2012 and January 2013. The arrival of Chinese peacekeepers adds to efforts to restore peace and order after the turmoil in the West African country.